Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, the subject of recent trade speculation, might ultimately remain in Los Angeles in light of CBS Sports' Jon Heyman's report that the Orioles, one of the teams linked to Kemp, are "'nowhere' in the talks." Heyman also noted the Dodgers' reluctance to let Kemp go, and the Baltimore Sun's Eduardo A. Encina reported on Tuesday that the talks between the two teams were "preliminary," specifically noting that the Dodgers "inquired about" young arms Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy, which the Orioles unsurprisingly balked at.
Although this news points toward Kemp remaining with the Dodgers (at least for now), the team is still speaking with two other clubs. Kemp is also an attractive player because of his lengthy contract (he's owed $107 million through the end of 2019), reasonable age (he turned 30 in September) and strong performance in the second half of 2014. The Dodgers also have a crowded outfield, with four bona fide starters for three spots.
Even so, the Dodgers appear reluctant to let Kemp go after Hanley Ramirez's signing with the Red Sox, perhaps preferring the safer route by keeping one of their best hitters in the lineup after already losing another one to free agency.
Though Kemp has battled injuries and inconsistency since 2011, when he led the league in homers, RBI, runs and total bases, the Dodgers outfielder did finish last season as one of the best hitters down the stretch. His .971 second-half OPS trailed that of only four other players with more than 200 plate appearances during that span, and his 17 post-All-Star break homers trailed only the 18 hit by Giancarlo Stanton and Chris Carter.
Other than the Orioles, only the Padres have been recently linked to Kemp. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweeted on Nov. 26 that a source "confirmed talks" between the two sides, with the disclaimer that the discussions were not recent and that the deal wasn't close at the time.